A bleak and intense watch, The Father is a landmark of dramatic film and one of the most emotional experiences you can witness. While a movie about an elderly man’s dealing with dementia and his loved one’s efforts to help sounds like Oscar-bait schlock, Florian Zeller takes us on a tour de force of uniqueness, and even surrealism. The choice of placing the audience in the perspective of the elderly man is utterly genius and handled superbly well with pitch-perfect editing, set design and direction. You are pushed beyond confusion to points where it becomes very uncomfortable to watch in a way that feels earned and appropriate. And so much of this is elevated with the sledgehammer swing of a cast. Hopkins is at his absolute best as dementia-stricken Anthony. It is so outstanding how such a legend of an actor can still best himself decades after his peak, with every little detail of his character being explosive to watch. The rest of the cast performs to Hopkins’ level too, and Olivia Colman definitely has earnt that new Oscar nom. Every piece of the movie’s puzzle comes together so vividly and full of emotion that it can be cathartic for many victims of dementia whether they are patients themselves or their whānau. For a movie to offer an important perspective to such a debilitating and cruel disease, The Father is an upsetting, but vital movie to watch this award season.
“Ten out of ten.”